A dangerous browser hijacker called Search.hfreeliveradio.co has been found to infect computer users worldwide. The victims report serious security and privacy issues when accessing the malicious service. It is linked with other criminal services that are used to harvest sensitive data from the victims.
|Type||Browser Hijacker, PUP|
|Short Description||Every browser application which is on your computer will get affected. The hijacker can redirect you and show you lots of advertisements.|
|Symptoms||Browser settings that get changed are the start page, search engine and the new tab page.|
|Distribution Method||Freeware Installations, Bundled Packages|
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|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss Search.hfreeliveradio.co.|
Search.hfreeliveradio.co – Delivery Methods
Users can get infected with the Search.hfreeliveradio.co redirect by falling victim into one of the many distribution options available. Most of them are related to browser hijacker infections. They are malicious extensions made for the most popular web browsers: Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge. Once infected with them the victims may find that essential settings have been modified by the malware. Some of the most obvious changes include the default home page, new tabs page and search engine. Other dangers include the following:
- Information Harvesting ‒ The browser hijackers have the ability to extract sensitive information from the web browsers. This includes form data, bookmarks, history, stored account credentials, settings and passwords.
- Additional Malware Infection ‒ In many cases browser hijackers can lead to malicious virus infections as well.
- System Changes ‒ The application can modify essential system settings as well which can cause performance or stability issues.
Search.hfreeliveradio.co infections can also be caused by web scripts and other related malware. Another method involves the use of infected files, popular strategies include documents and software installers. They contain scripts and code that leads to the installation of the Search.hfreeliveradio.co redirect. The documents themselves can be any of the popular office types (rich text documents, spreadsheets or databases) and when they are run built-in macro commands are activated that download the Search.hfreeliveradio.co to the victim computer. Software installers on the other hand can be of different types. The majority of them are hacker-modified applications downloaded from their official sources. They are configured to include the malware code that leads to a successful Search.hfreeliveradio.co infection. Such samples are then spread on fake download portals or P2P networks like BitTorrent where pirate content is usually found. Web scripts, ad networks and other malware can also lead to infections.
Search.hfreeliveradio.co – In-Depth Overview
Once the infection is established on the victim computers the users will find that their browsers are constantly redirected to one of the domains associated with the threat ‒ Search.hfreeliveradio.co or query.hfreeliveradio.co. They feature the same design, a web page that shows a familiar looking interface. The web page is made up of several elements:
- Top Menu Bar ‒ Shows a small search box, links to popular services and the the title of the site “Free Live Radio”.
- Search Engine ‒ The main element of the site shows a search engine box that is placed in the center. Underneath it are placed large buttons to some of the most widely used web sites, along with an option to hide them.
The aim of the hackers is to manipulate the victims into using the site in any way possible. All interactions are recorded and the fact that most of the redirects are caused by browser hijackers operated by the same operators or their affiliates.
The fact that the website is designed to look like a legitimate search engine or an Internet portal shows that the operators have a malicious intent in this case. We have detected that merely visiting the home page without interacting with any of the links still leads to the delivery of many cookies. As a result every victim is assigned a unique infection ID that tracks the interaction of every user and starts to build a database of all collected data.
We have uncovered that the site is operated by Polarity a well-known company that operates a lot of similar sites. As it is part of a large network we suspect that the site is part of their information collection scheme. If the users use several sites operated by Polarity the hackers will be able to collect more information about them. This is one of the reasons why the search engine relies on a custom Yahoo-powered link.
When the users search for something using the box they will be shown inaccurate results. They may come across several different types of links:
- Polarity Powered Affiliate Sites ‒ The company may opt to place a preference on their own sites. By folowing such links the victims will find themselves in a loop of similar sites that all track their behavior and harvest sensitive data.
- Affiliate Links ‒ Such sites are shown to the users based on a deal made by the site operators and ad networks. The site gains income based on site interaction with these sites.
- Search Engine Sponsored Sites ‒ These site results generate income for the search engine itself.
As you can see best or relevant results are not among the priority list. As a consequence it is possible to infect the victims with dangerous viruses or ransomware by interacting with malicious sites. Hackers frequently utilize such sites to spread new malware samples.
- Data Collection – The company enforces data collection on the Search.hfreeliveradio.co site, both personally-identifiable and anonymous usage. The user consents to the fact that this includes all search queries and recorded information that can lead to the discovery of the victim’s personal data: name, mailing address, telephone number, social security number, driver’s license or other ID. Every visitor is logged with a unique ID. Statistical information includes the type of web browser, resolution, browser settings and other related data. Beware that the site operators also have access to the information regarding the potential geographical location and Internet Service Provider.
- Data Disclosure – The service operators may disclose the collected data to third-party companies, partners and affiliates.
- User Tracking – The users are automatically assigned a tracking cookie which can record all interactions with the service.
The company’s address is listed as the following:
Polarity Technologies LTD
Nora Court, 3rd floor, office 301
Limassol, Cyprus 3040
The same policy is applied to the query.hfreeliveradio.co site as well.
Remove Search.hfreeliveradio.co Effectively
To remove Search.hfreeliveradio.co manually from your computer, follow the step-by-step removal instructions provided below. In case the manual removal does not get rid of the hijacker redirect and its files completely, you should search for and remove any leftovers with an advanced anti-malware tool. Such a program can keep your computer safe in the future.
- Guide 1: How to Remove Search.hfreeliveradio.co from Windows.
- Guide 2: Get rid of Search.hfreeliveradio.co from Mac OS X.
- Guide 3: Remove Search.hfreeliveradio.co from Google Chrome.
- Guide 4: Erase Search.hfreeliveradio.co from Mozilla Firefox.
- Guide 5: Uninstall Search.hfreeliveradio.co from Microsoft Edge.
- Guide 6: Remove Search.hfreeliveradio.co from Safari.
- Guide 7: Eliminate Search.hfreeliveradio.co from Internet Explorer.
How to Remove Search.hfreeliveradio.co from Windows.
Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove Search.hfreeliveradio.co
Step 2: Uninstall Search.hfreeliveradio.co and related software from Windows
Here is a method in few easy steps that should be able to uninstall most programs. No matter if you are using Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista or XP, those steps will get the job done. Dragging the program or its folder to the recycle bin can be a very bad decision. If you do that, bits and pieces of the program are left behind, and that can lead to unstable work of your PC, errors with the file type associations and other unpleasant activities. The proper way to get a program off your computer is to Uninstall it.
Step 3: Clean any registries, created by Search.hfreeliveradio.co on your computer.
The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:
You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by Search.hfreeliveradio.co there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:
Get rid of Search.hfreeliveradio.co from Mac OS X.
Step 1: Uninstall Search.hfreeliveradio.co and remove related files and objects
1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:
- Go to Finder.
- In the search bar type the name of the app that you want to remove.
- Above the search bar change the two drop down menus to “System Files” and “Are Included” so that you can see all of the files associated with the application you want to remove. Bear in mind that some of the files may not be related to the app so be very careful which files you delete.
- If all of the files are related, hold the ⌘+A buttons to select them and then drive them to “Trash”.
In case you cannot remove Search.hfreeliveradio.co via Step 1 above:
In case you cannot find the virus files and objects in your Applications or other places we have shown above, you can manually look for them in the Libraries of your Mac. But before doing this, please read the disclaimer below:
You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:
Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.
Step 2: Scan for and remove malware from your Mac
When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts, programs and malware, the recommended way of eliminating the threat is by using an anti-malware program. Combo Cleaner offers advanced security features along with other modules that will improve your Mac’s security and protect it in the future.
Remove Search.hfreeliveradio.co from Google Chrome.
Step 1: Start Google Chrome and open the drop menu
Step 2: Move the cursor over "Tools" and then from the extended menu choose "Extensions"
Step 3: From the opened "Extensions" menu locate the unwanted extension and click on its "Remove" button.
Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Google Chrome by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.
Erase Search.hfreeliveradio.co from Mozilla Firefox.
Step 1: Start Mozilla Firefox. Open the menu window
Step 2: Select the "Add-ons" icon from the menu.
Step 3: Select the unwanted extension and click "Remove"
Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Mozilla Firefox by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.
Uninstall Search.hfreeliveradio.co from Microsoft Edge.
Step 1: Start Edge browser.
Step 2: Open the drop menu by clicking on the icon at the top right corner.
Step 3: From the drop menu select "Extensions".
Step 4: Choose the suspected malicious extension you want to remove and then click on the gear icon.
Step 5: Remove the malicious extension by scrolling down and then clicking on Uninstall.
Remove Search.hfreeliveradio.co from Safari.
Step 1: Start the Safari app.
Step 2: After hovering your mouse cursor to the top of the screen, click on the Safari text to open its drop down menu.
Step 3: From the menu, click on "Preferences".
Step 4: After that, select the 'Extensions' Tab.
Step 5: Click once on the extension you want to remove.
Step 6: Click 'Uninstall'.
A pop-up window will appear asking for confirmation to uninstall the extension. Select 'Uninstall' again, and the Search.hfreeliveradio.co will be removed.
Eliminate Search.hfreeliveradio.co from Internet Explorer.
Step 1: Start Internet Explorer.
Step 2: Click on the gear icon labeled 'Tools' to open the drop menu and select 'Manage Add-ons'
Step 3: In the 'Manage Add-ons' window.
Step 4: Select the extension you want to remove and then click 'Disable'. A pop-up window will appear to inform you that you are about to disable the selected extension, and some more add-ons might be disabled as well. Leave all the boxes checked, and click 'Disable'.
Step 5: After the unwanted extension has been removed, restart Internet Explorer by closing it from the red 'X' button located at the top right corner and start it again.